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It was an honor to speak at a Marine Corps Ball on a Saturday night, but was it too much for someone who lives with mental illness and needs balance and boundaries?

Marine Corps 1990


Listen – it meant a lot to me that I was invited, and I want to do whatever I can to honor my Marine Corps. It’s been 25 years since I was honorably discharged.

Here’s the deal: I arrived home from travels close to midnight on Friday night. I had to leave my house at noon Saturday to drive the four hours to Rock Hill, SC to speak for 20 minutes and then drive home. I got back home after midnight. On Sunday, I didn’t do anything but rest – watching football and lounging on the couch all day. After the week I had, it was easy to give myself permission to do this. I was in eastern Texas at the beginning of the week and closed it out with a speaking engagement in western Washington – followed by an all-day flight home Friday.

I spoke for free at the Marine Corps Ball and didn’t expect to get paid. Let’s call that giving back. But it gets complicated when I start thinking about travel time, being busy and overwhelmed, free talks versus self-care. I speak for a living, after all.

If I think about my clients, I realize that it wasn’t fair to them to push myself and speak at the ball. I wasn’t being fair to myself either. At the end of the day, my self-care should have been more important. I need balance and boundaries in order to prioritize my life and my speaking schedule.

Today I was in the office early, knowing I had a lot of work to catch up on before I fly out to Philadelphia this evening. Mostly, I was working with my media team and taking care of the website.

The website has been a thorn in my side for the past few months. It’s outdated and needs to have all the widgets updated – but before I could do that, I needed to update the PHP. Your guess is as good as mine about what that means. It’s language that computer code geeks know. It’s code that confuses me and I don’t have the patience for it.

The website crashed when I tried to update a plug-in.  That’s more than an hour I will never get back, and that’s another reason I am transferring the hosting of the website to a new platform.

Thankfully for Charles Kirkland, my go-to guy in website marketing, he was able to help us make some sense of what we are doing and what we need to do. He was on speed dial a few times today.

Maybe I wouldn’t have stressed about this so much if I got the rest I needed – but I made the decision to speak, pro bono, at the Marine Corps Ball.

Maybe I’m too busy as a professional speaker to do motivational talks for free. I think I should reevaluate my schedule and take a good look at how many times I speak.

My Hilton Honors has me staying at a Hilton hotel 147 nights this year and it’s only November 11. That’s a lot of travel.

Teen Mental Health Motivational Speaker

It was a very stressful day, but was it really all that stressful considering what many people deal with in their lives?

Living with Mental Illness

I’m a man that lives with major depression, bipolar II disorder and PTSD. Maybe I’m making too much of this. I won’t disagree, but I do that, and it bothers me. A lot.

Why can’t I let it go and just be present and thankful I’m making progress every day? I pride myself on showing up and doing the best I can – but then my expectations are too high.

I’m confused and bothered by this stress.

Change in Medication

Another thing I need to be aware of is my change in medication. I’ve recently switched from Lexapro to Wellbutrin. I don’t know enough to think this could be the cause, but I know enough to be aware that me being on medication is important. It’s good to be reminded of this fact.

Flying off to Philadelphia

So, I’m at the airport and my flight is slightly delayed. That doesn’t bother me, but sometimes it does. I’m getting ready to board and I thought I’d throw some thoughts out on the blog instead of hiding on my social media profiles.

I think I’m going to spend this 90-minute flight to Philadelphia grateful to recognize how I am feeling and letting this go.

I’m going to spend time thankful I got to speak at the Marine Corps Ball. Whether it was a paid talk or a pro bono talk doesn’t matter. I think I need to have more boundaries and balance in my life personally and professionally. I need to focus on the tasks at hand, my time management – and know my schedule months in advance.

Saying no Is a lesson we can all learn. If we don’t say no, it’s too easy to become overwhelmed. When we are overwhelmed not only do we suffer, but those we are closest to suffer as well.

Tomorrow is a New Day

Tomorrow is a new day. Maybe all this could have waited one more day and I could have just been present and enjoyed today – Veterans Day!

Happy Veterans Day to myself and all my fellow veterans. Now I’m bothered I didn’t get to enjoy the day I earned because I was too stressed and overwhelmed.

I’m learning each and every day. This is just another day of living with bipolar. Today, it beat me. Tomorrow, I’m taking back control over my mental illness.

Now this: As I’m getting ready to board, the gate agent just advised us of maintenance, and we are further delayed. There was a bird strike on the plane’s final approach. It could be a lot worse, I guess. Thankfully, I’m not that bird who played chicken with an inbound plane.

Just breathe friends, just breathe.

Who is Jeff Yalden?

Teen Mental Health Motivational and Educational Consultant for School Communities and Mental Health Professionals

Jeff Yalden is highly regarded as one of the top mental health experts in the world primarily focused on education and school communities working with teens, school administration, counselors, teachers, staff, parents and community leaders.

He’s a four-time best-selling author including his latest book, TEEN SUICIDE: The WHY Behind Today’s Suicide Epidemic.

His Podcast: Mental Health and Motivation continues to attract thousands of new subscribers every month for his direct talk and influence on today’s mental health conversations for teens and adults.

You can learn more about Jeff Yalden by visiting his website – You can also learn more about Jeff’s Suicide Prevention Online Course for School Communities and Parents, Jeff Yalden University, and follow Jeff on YouTube and Social Media by clicking on the links below:

For more information, please visit or click on any link below:

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